Canada's competition bureau finally gave the green light last Friday to the nation’s third largest broadcasting group, CanWest Communications, to acquire the Canadian newspaper interests of Conrad Black’s Hollinger International.

The go-ahead will transform CanWest almost overnight into a multimedia giant with annual revenues in the region of C$2.6 billion; it also ends growing speculation that the deal was unwelcome to the federal watchdog.

CanWest is now free to acquire eleven daily papers and their related websites, nearly 150 community newspapers and Hollinger's magazines unit. The deal also includes a 50% stake in the two-year-old National Post, Hollinger's loss-making flagship national title.

The acquisition was cleared after the competition bureau found no evidence that newspapers, internet sites and television compete directly for retail advertising normally found in newspapers.

News source: Financial Times